(Good GRIEF, this is my 1500th blog post!!!!! You know what, I'll figure out some sort of giveaway for that. If you leave a comment on this post, you're automatically entered! Deadline is November 25th)
One of the highlights of our recent trip to Tobago was a four-hour hike through the beautiful Tobago Rainforest Reserve, which claims to be the oldest protected forest in the western hemisphere. It was declared a protected Crown reserve in 1776, and has been protected ever since. This forest is an absolute Caribbean gem. We hired a guide named Fitzroy Quamina, who was excellent.
First, he showed us the den of a trapdoor spider:
I put the flap back down as we left.
He also found us many exquisite birds, of which I have no photos. Perhaps the most beautiful was the White-tailed Sabrewing hummingbird. I watched through my binoculars as it flitted around in shafts of sunlight piercing the thick canopy overhead.
There were lots of wonderful things in the lush green rainforest. I liked this bracket fungi...
And hello! A leafcutter ant! These ants cut leaves to take back to their colonies. They then use them as a substrate for growing the fungus that they feed their larvae...
And here was my favourite of Fitzroy's finds (nice alliteration, eh?)
What have we here?
Yes, a snake. In fact, a boa constrictor that was approximately four feet long. I think Fitzroy was more than a little surprised that I didn't run screaming from it, but I love snakes. Those new to my blog may not know that I spent a very long time illustrating a kids' book called Katie of the the Sonoran Desert. I think snakes are amazing.
This poor guy had a fcouple of ticks on his head:
One was fully engorged, while the other was just settlign in for a meal.
Yuck. I hate ticks and I have picked many off the dogs and Alex this year. A really bad tick year in these parts.
Fitzroy managed to knock the fat tick off the snake with a stick.
And yes, I touched the snake. Very briefly, back near the tail. I couldn't help myself.
I also fell in love with these little guys...
The Blackback Land crab, aka Red Land crab. This little guy backed up into Fitzroy's boot and looked as fierce as possible.
Here he looks like an orchestra conductor!
He was so defensive, but I couldn't stop laughing at his cuteness.
When the crabs mature, they lose their red colouring and look like this:
This fellow was very well camouflaged and not impressed with my attempts to photograph him.
There were large clumps of bamboo scattered throughout the forest. See the graffiti?
And not surprisingly, it rained a lot.
Which led to many spectacular waterfalls.
We all got rained on. And I gave up on my hair on day one of our trip. It has a mind of its own when the humidity is as high as it is on Tobago! My first souvenir was a bandanna to wrap around my unruly frizz.
Here's Gordon, drying out with Fitzroy.
Fitzroy showed us many wonderful waterfalls...
And our feet got a little muddy!
It was a strenuous hike, but the four hours just whipped by and I was sad when it was time to leave.
Gordon looked fresh as a daisy, unlike me!
Paradise on earth.